Don't even think
about walking into a job interview without having acquired information
about the prospective employer. Here's your opportunity to show
that you are a serious, organized and engaged job candidate. If
knowledge is power under normal circumstances, in the job interview
knowledge is power to the power of 10. And the best part : it's
community library has a number of reference books about local, regional
and national manufacturers, marketing organizations and service
providers. Ask a reference librarian to help you with your search.
The Internet is another rich trove of information about corporations,
non-profits, public institutions and just about any other organization
that hires people. Every publicly traded company publishes an annual
report; call up a local stockbroker's office and ask for a copy.
If you know someone who already works for your prospective employer,
ask questions. The long and the short of it is, the information
is out there.
Your goal is
NOT to end up talking like a company insider, but only to demonstrate
that you've done your homework. You should find out about the history
of the organization, what its mission is (hint: annual reports usually
publish corporate mission statements), who the key players are,
and the market, public or charitable sector it serves. If the prospective
employer is a manufacturer, become familiar with the product line.
It it's a nonprofit organization, find out about the needs it addresses.
If it's a government organization, learn about its scope of authority
and how it fits into the larger scheme of local, state or federal
the position you seek, you might need to delve further. If, for
example, you are interviewing for an accounting position in a publicly
traded company, you probably ought to familiarize yourself with
the financial information in its annual report. By the same token,
if you're a graphic artist seeking a job with an Internet service
provider, you should familiarize yourself with graphic styles the
company is using on the Web, as well as hardware and software currently
employed by the firm.
Along the way,
you may encounter a daunting amount of alphabet soup, particularly
on organization Web sites. We're becoming more and more apt to communicate
in shorthand, and that's reflected in the way companies talk about
themselves. For instance, many firms describe themselves as OEMs
(original equipment manufacturers), ISPs (Internet service providers),
CROs (contract research organizations) or any of dozens of other
initial clusters. Should you encounter such a character in your
search, you can find helpful glossaries on the Internet. One that
answers many such questions can be found at
gotten your facts in order, it's time to take a long look in the
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